Needham Market manager Mark Morsley says the departure of forward Michael Brothers is a ‘huge loss’ to the club.
Brothers has left the Marketmen to join lower-league Brantham Athletic as a player-coach, with the much-travelled forward no longer set to feature in Needham’s debut season in the Ryman Premier League.
“His job has changed which meant he couldn’t commit to playing in the Ryman Premier,” explained Morsley.
“He will be a huge loss to us, but these things happen and we’re now looking for a striker to come in, possibly one or two.”
Brothers, who also operated as an attacking midfielder, scored six goals across two spells at Bloomfields, with the ex-AFC Sudbury and Leiston frontman leaving Brightlingsea Regent in December of last year to help the Marketmen’s Division One North promotion push.
The former Colchester United Academy player netted five times in 19 appearances for Morsley’s side last season to help secure promotion as Division One North champions.
Brothers scored with a bicycle kick goal in the final day 5-0 win at Chatham Town to land goal of the year at the club’s end of season awards last month.
The Marketmen have already lost midfielder Ian Westlake who has retired, while Colchester United legend Karl Duguid has joined from Stanway Rovers to take up a player-coach role at Bloomfields.
Needham’s players are set to return for pre-season on June 30 with the club having scheduled six friendlies, which will see them set for a reunion with Brothers at Brantham Athletic on Saturday, July 25 (3pm).
They will begin their warm-up programme at home to Colchester United’s Under-18s on Saturday, July 11 (3pm) before hosting Trimley Red Devils on Wednesday, July 15 (7.45pm).
A mixed side made up of first-team and reserve players will travel to Bradfield Rovers on Saturday, July 18 (3pm), while Colchester United Under-21s’ will bring a side to Bloomfields on Wednesday, July 22 (7.30pm).
After Brantham on July 25, Morsley’s side step up their preparation with a trip to Ryman League Division One North side Heybridge Swifts on Tuesday, July 28 (7.45pm) before testing themselves the week before their season starts against Conference South outfit Chelmsford City at Bloomfields on Saturday, August 1 (3pm).